As the 80s closed and Grunge loomed in the horizon, many Metal bands were quickly losing the mainstream attention they had been recieving throughout the decade. However, since Maiden never aligned themselves with either the Hair Metal camp or the Thrash Metal camp, they weren’t particularly affected by the changing musical climates. However, they decided (for whatever reason, we’ll never know) to strip down their progressive Metal approach and go back to the more straight ahead thrashy punk of their early career. Don’t get me wrong, this album is certainly not simplistic at all, and guitar-wise it’s one of the most dominant of the bunch, but it did sacrifice the very complementing keyboards of their past albums.Regardless of the “black sheep” status of the album, it is clear this is a guitar-oriented Rock N Roll album, and when so it should be listened and reviewed as such. Taking this into acount, No Prayer for the Dying is a strong album. It features plenty of great harmonies and memorable choruses and it should definately please the average Rock/Metal fan that’s not expecting a huge magnum opus.. Opener “Tailgunner” is an appropriate track, but it’s not very memorable as far as Maiden goes, and is not on the same level as Aces High, Caught Somewhere in Time and the like. “Holy Smoke” is a humorous tune, followed by the intense power-ballad-styled Title Track, one of the finer cuts. Public Enema Number One and Fates Warning are simple, average songs. “The Assassin” you could say is the stinker of the album, the song goes nowhere and simply adds nothing to the album. However, after its lowest point, the closing 4 tracks are all very strong and are on par with the previous Maiden. “Running Silent, Running Deep” is an underrated gem, while “Hooks In You” keeps the high quality of the “Charlotte the Harlot” saga, being the 3rd in the series. Maiden’s biggest hit single “Bring Your Daughter… To The Slaughter” is probably the best of the bunch, a classic. Closing epic “Mother Russia” is also a great song and an underrated cut.All in all, No Prayer’s downfall is the fact that it’s a Maiden album, and it has much too many average tracks and not enough of the Maiden “epic” sound of the previous albums. As a “Return to Roots” album, however, it fares much better than most of its peers and at the end of the day, while it’s not increadibly impressive, it will not dissappint the ardent fan.Tailgunner- 8/10Holy Smoke- 8/10No Prayer For the Dying- 9/10Public Enema- 7/10Fates Warning- 7/10The Assassin- 5/10Running Silent, Running Deep- 9.5/10Hooks in You- 9/10Bring Your Daughter… To The Slaughter- 10/10Mother Russia- 9/10
Metal Album Reviews[RSS]
Iron Maiden fans either love this album or hate it – there doesn’t seem to be much middle ground. I’m in the camp that dislikes this album. To me it just seemed so uninspired and boring. I wasn’t looking for synths or keyboards, but I was looking for more of the same quality songwriting that the previous seven albums had in spades.
This album also marks the departure of Adrian Smith and the addition of Janick Gers. Janick’s been in the music business for years and is a very good guitarist. He did great in Gillian, Gogmagog, White Spirit, and Bruce’s first solo album, but in my opinion, he wasn’t a good fit for a technical band like Iron Maiden.
To me Adrian’s co-written song “Hooks in You” is the one of the few bright spots on the album. The other good tracks are “Tailgunner” and “No Prayer for the Dying.” The rest to me just isn’t good Iron Maiden. There’s always going to be a snag here and there for every band. This one just happens to be Iron Maiden’s snag.
I find that when an album you haven’t heard before is mercilously bashed, you tend to go into it expecting it to be some of the worst stuff you’ve ever heard. And then when you actually sit down and listen to it, you come away thinking it wasn’t half bad. But in this case, it was 1990, and I was expecting another killer album from one of my favorite bands. Instead, I found it fell far short of my expectations. Even today, while I have the album in my collection, I don’t go back to it often.
THE BAND: Bruce Dickinson (vocals), Dave Murray (guitar), Janick Gers (guitar), Steve Harris (bass), Nicko McBrain (drums & percussion).
THE DISC: (1990) 10 tracks clocking in at just over 44 minutes. Included with the disc is a 14-page booklet that contains band pictures, song credits/titles, song lyrics, and thank you’s. Recorded at Steve Harris’ Barn somewhere in England on the Rolling Stone Mobile. Cover art by Derek Riggs. Label – Epic. *The digitally remastered version (on Sanctuary Maiden label) released in 2002 offers more in the way of liner notes and videos for your PC.
COMMENTS: It’s hard for me to write this review, since I’ve been a fan of Iron Maiden from the beginning. I have their entire collection on disc – Iron Maiden has so many great releases. Some of those (“Number Of The Beast”, “Powerslave”, and “Piece Of Mind” to name a few) are all-time British metal classics… as well as all-time heavy metal classics. However, there are so many things wrong with “No Prayer For The Dying”. What the heck happened after 1988’s “7th Son Of A 7th Son” (less than 2 years prior)? The sound (production) is flat. Much different from previous albums – Steve Harris’ Barn and the Rolling Stone Mobile I’m sure has something to do with it. This was a first for the band recording here (most of their classic 80’s material was recorded in the Bahamas or France). Guitar wizard Adrian Smith is gone… working on solo projects and beckoning Dickinson to join him (a few years later he got his wish). For the most part, the melodies are forgettable. And most importantly, the lyrics are silly, or don’t fit with the song. Several reviews here trash Dickinson’s vocals. I disagree – I think he sounds fine, but the lyrics just don’t go with the guitar licks and melodies… leaving an awkward feel to most of this album. “No Prayer For The Dying” is also missing a trademark epic song. It doesn’t have to be a 13-minute “Rime Of The Ancient Mariner”, but something lengthier than “Mother Russia” (the longest song on the album at 5:31) would have been nice. Steve Harris is an amazing bassist, but the questionable bass playing on “Run Silent Run Deep” simply baffles me. The original album cover artwork features Eddie reaching out and choking a man… on the remastered edition, the man is gone and (background) colors are slightly changed. The band’s most recent “live” albums (“Death On The Road” and “Rock In Rio”) feature NO songs from “No Prayer For The Dying”… what’s that tell you! On the plus side, the songs “Holy Smoke” and “Bring Your Daughter… To The Slaughter” made it to their “Essential” (2005) and “Edward The Great” (2002) best-of compilations. The latter of the two also made it to “Best Of The Beast” (1996). While these two songs are easily the best songs on the disc, that’s not saying much… they’re both weak compared to anything the band did in the 80’s. The 3rd best song is “Tailgunner” – good tune with unconforming lyrics. I’ve kept the original disc and opted not to trade in for the remastered version – even with better sound quality, it’s still an album I won’t listen to much. In my opinion, Iron Maiden really struggled in the 90’s… two sub par albums with Bruce (“Fear Of The Dark” was the other one), and two with sad replacement singer Blaze Bailey (“X Factor” and “Virtual Xi”). I’ve tried repeatedly to get “into” this album over the years… and I simply can’t do it (2.5 stars).
I’ve noticed a lot of people badmouthing this album, but I think it is GREAT! What is everybody’s problem? The only thing a little different about this album from other Maiden albums is that it is more raw and direct. The songs are shorter (most are between 4 and 5 minutes long), and there is very little presence of synths or layered tracks. The other thing that people complain about is the replacement of guitarist Adrian Smith by Janick Gers.However, despite what you may hear, this is a great set of 10 songs! If I had to, I would pay the price of the whole album just for “Tailgunner.” It is my favorite song on the album, and from its opening riffs, it is entrancing. The two singles are “Holy Smoke” and “Bring Your Daughter to the Slaughter.” They are also very good; they have a tongue-in-cheek humor that is rarely present in Iron Maiden’s music. These, and the others of this great album, rock in a straightforward fashion.That is not to say that there are no classic-sounding masterpieces! The title song is brilliant, and the main riff is one of Maiden’s best ever. “Run Silent Run Deep” and “Mother Russia” are two more of my favorites.So what’s this about Janick Gers being so terrible! I think he is great, and honestly, he’s not as good as Adrian Smith, but that doesn’t mean he’s a bad guitarist. The only real fault that I can find in this record is in “The Assassin.” This is a great song, until the chorus comes along. I will admit, the chorus is rather flat. But the rest of the song is brilliant!It saddens me that so many Maiden fans will dis this album so terribly. It is great. Take it from a REAL Iron Maiden fan.
No Prayer for the Dying is Iron Maiden’s 1990 follow-up album to the Seventh Son album, a hugely successful album. Steve Harris wanted to take a step back to the basics and produce more of a “Garage” type sound, instead of expanding on the huge and progressive nature of their last two albums, “Somewhere in Time” and “Seventh Son”. Adrian Smith disagreed with this approach and left the band. Janick Gers was brought in, and indeed brought a much more raw and hard edge to the rhythm and overall sound. The contrast between Gers and Dave Murray on guitar is extremely big. The two styles are extremely different, almost two much so. Harris’ vision is understood, but the result is a rather poor and lackluster effort from a band that we came to expect so much from. Not that it’s a bad album in anyway, just not up to the calibur of their previous seven albums. The first three songs are actually pretty good. “Tailgunner” is this albums fast paced energetic opener, followed by “Holy Smoke” one of the two singles from this album, a very good song with a great back to back solo where you can clearly hear the differences in style of the two guitarists. The title track follows and is a more melow but good song, similar to “Children of the Damned” from the “Number of the Beast” album. The album now proceeds to descend into a series of songs not worth mentioning. Assasin is just not a good song, not up to Maiden calibur. It does, however, pick up towards the end with the last three songs. “Hooks in you” is indeed a catchy song, with a cool chorus, and characteristic creepy vocals from Bruce Dickinson. Great guitar work as well. “Bring your Daughter to the Slaughter” in next, and was the other single released. A very catchy chorus with hysterical lyrics. “Mother Russia” is a descent attempt to end the album with a Maiden characteristic epic finale, but it falls short compared to “Alexander the Great” or “Hallowed be thy name”. In general, it’s a good album as far as Rock and Roll goes, but the worst Maiden album up until that point.